How to Apply to Schools

 

As a family in Boston, you have many school options. These include:

  • Boston Public Schools ("district schools" or "BPS")
  • Public charter schools
  • Parochial schools
  • METCO (a program where students from Boston travel to attend school in other cities and towns)
  • Private/Independent schools

 

Below is a detailed description of how to enroll your child in any of these options. If you have any questions about this process, email us at contact@bostonschoolfinder.org.

 

Enrollment Process for Boston Public Schools (BPS)

There are approximately 125 BPS schools in the city serving over 50,000 students total in every grade – from pre-kindergarten (age 3) to high school (age 18 and older).

How do I register my child for BPS?

You can register your child at any BPS Welcome Center. You must go in person to register. Before you go, research your school options on discoverBPS.org and on Boston School Finder. Once you are ready to go in person, be sure to bring:

  • two proofs of Boston residency
  • your child’s birth certificate or passport
  • your child’s up-to-date immunization record
  • parent’s photo ID.

 

When should I register my child for BPS for the Fall of 2019?

Registration for BPS starts very early - the priority registration period is January through March in the same year that your child will enter school. For example, if your child will be in Kindergarten in September of 2019, then you should plan to register between January and March of 2019.  We strongly encourage registering during first round registration for the grade your child is entering. This is the best way to ensure that you get a seat in a school that you want.

  • January 3 to February 1, 2019: Pre-kindergarten (age 3 or 4 by September 1, 2019), 6th, 7th, or 9th grade first round registration period
  • February 11 - March 22, 2019: Kindergarten (K2 - age 5 by September 1, 2019) or any other grade first round registration period

 

Are there any special school placements in BPS?

Yes. There are several types of schools in BPS that students enroll in outside of the standard assignment process.

  • Placement Based on Individual Needs – Some schools offer highly specialized programs for students with significant learning, physical, and language acquisition needs; students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs); and English Language Learners (ELLs). Typically, BPS will provide additional support and placement recommendations during enrollment.
  • Advanced Work Classes – Some schools offer Advanced Work Classes (AWC) in grades 4-6. If a student is invited into Advanced Work Classes based on his or her test results, he or she will be sent a notification in January and sent a school choice form that includes AWC. Students who are invited and want to participate must select the school option that states AWC (for example, “Murphy AWC”). Learn more here. 
  • Exam Schools – Boston has three “exam schools” which serve students in grades 7 – 12. Admission to these schools is based on grade point average and test scores on the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE), a national exam. Interested students should be sure to take the ISEE and to submit the exam schools on their list of preferences in January. Learn more here
  • Pilot High Schools – There are several “pilot schools” in Boston that run their own admissions process. In some cases, this involves submitting a separate enrollment form to the school. Boston School Finder provides a link to these enrollment forms on each school’s profile page, or you can find out more on the BPS website. The pilot high schools that require their own admissions processes include:
    • Boston Arts Academy (BAA)
    • Boston Community Leadership Academy (BCLA)
    • Fenway High School
    • New Mission High School
  • Horace Mann Charter Schools – Admission to Horace Mann (also known as “in-district”) charter schools is by an open lottery. Boston School Finder provides a link to the enrollment form that interested students must fill out on each Horace Mann charter school’s profile page. The Horace Mann charter schools are:
    • Boston Day & Evening Academy
    • Boston Green Academy
    • Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School
    • Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers
    • UP Academy Boston
    • UP Academy Dorchester

 

Anything else I should know?

To get the most out of your BPS Welcome Center visit, we strongly encourage you to do the following prior to your appointment:

  • Visit any BPS school you’re interested in to meet with school leaders, speak with teachers and see the school in action

  • Pre-register online for BPS to speed up the registration process

  • Make an appointment at a Welcome Center ahead of time so that you don’t have to wait in line

You can find more information at www.bostonpublicschools.org/register.

 

Enrollment Process for Commonwealth Charter Schools

Commonwealth charter schools are public schools not affiliated with any other district. Charter schools in Boston serve approximately 11,000 students in all grades across the city. Charter schools are free to attend and admit students through an open lottery. Students do not have to take tests or show their grades to enter the lottery. If they gain admission via lottery, they can choose whether or not to attend.

How do I register my child for a charter school?

You can register for most charter schools in Boston using the Boston Public Charter Online Application system. You can pick which schools you want to enter your name into the lottery for and submit one application. Bridge Boston Charter School has a separate process, which you can find here.

When should I register my child for a charter school?

All applications must be in by February 28, 2019. If you don’t submit your application by this date, you will have to wait to see if individual schools have additional lotteries later in the spring, or wait until the following year.

 

Enrollment Process for Catholic Schools

Located across the city, many families of all religions choose a Catholic school.

How and when do I register my child for Catholic School?

Each school runs its own application process with separate timelines. To learn more about how to register for specific schools, visit their Boston School Finder pages and click “Apply Now.” This will navigate you to the school’s application page.

Anything else I should know?

Unlike BPS and charter schools, most Catholic schools cost money to attend. These schools generally attempt to offer financial aid to make the school affordable to everyone, so it’s important to ask about financial aid and scholarship opportunities before you apply.

 

Enrollment Process for METCO

In the METCO program, students from Boston travel by bus to attend school in nearby towns. Any family in Boston is eligible to apply for METCO.

How do I register my child for METCO?

There is a waiting list for spaces in METCO, so a placement is not guaranteed. To register, you must go to the office located at 40 Dimock St. in Roxbury.

Anything else I should know?

Students are placed on the METCO waiting list in order by date received, so if you’re considering this option, we encourage you to register early. You can learn more on METCO’s website.

 

Enrollment Process for Other Private Schools

Boston is home to over 30 non-Catholic private schools, all of which you can find on Boston School Finder.

How and when do I register my child for private school?

Each school runs its own application process with separate timelines. To learn more about how to register for specific schools, visit their Boston School Finder pages and click “Apply Now.” This will navigate you to the school’s application page.

Anything else I should know?

Unlike BPS and charter schools, most private schools cost money to attend. Some schools offer financial aid to make the school affordable to everyone, so it’s important to ask about financial aid and scholarship opportunities before you apply.

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